John “Wiz” Withers

Expertise: Aviation, Aerospace, Audio/Video, Music, Software

Since 1993 I have been a "writer for hire" for organizations ranging from the US federal government to a local public broadcasting station.

John (Wiz) and helicopterIn my first career I was a US Navy helicopter pilot and instructor, traveling and flying missions all over the world.  Early in my career I specialized in anti-submarine warfare, becoming intimately familiar with acoustics and sound
propagation.  When combined with my love of music, this ultimately led to a life-long fascination with sound and video.

Later, as a senior officer I twice commanded helicopter detachments in the Persian Gulf, including missions during OPERATION DESERT STORM.

I was also a helicopter flight instructor.  During that time I discovered one of my strengths is taking a complex, technical subject (like helicopter flying or aerodynamics) and explaining it to a non-technical audience.

This skill later transferred to technical writing when I joined the team conducting initial operational and engineering development tests on the US Marine Corps’ then-experimental V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft.  There I co-authored, edited, and evaluated many of the procedures used in maintaining and preparing the aircraft for flight testing.

After the Navy, I worked in the defense industry as a project team leader and branch head for several years, writing numerous flight test reports and other technical documents.  I co-authored and edited the US Navy’s first comprehensive manual for operating US Army and US Air Force helicopters aboard ships – which is still in use today.

Additionally, for 10 years I’ve been a monthly columnist for SHIPMATE, the magazine of the US Naval Academy Alumni Association.  I also blog and speak publicly on the topic of leadership.

Like Karen, I’ve found my diverse experiences, technical background and logical approach add up to a greater ability to relate to diverse businesses and their audiences.  And this translates into stronger copy.

More stuff my mother would tell you about me:


  • BS (Physics), United States Naval Academy
  • MA, United States Naval War College
  • MA, Salve Regina University

Licensed Aircraft Pilot (over 4,500 hours) with the following ratings:

  • Commercial Pilot:
    • Airplane, single-engine, land
    • Airplane, multi-engine, land
    • Helicopter
    • Glider
  • Instrument Rating:
    • Airplane
    • Helicopter

      – National Business Aviation Association (NBAA)
      – Helicopter Association International (HAI)
      – Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA)
      – US Naval Institute (USNI)
      – Military Officers Association of America (MOAA)

Ongoing education includes reading and studying dozens of blogs, newsletters, and special reports on the B2B marketplace and direct response copywriting. I also attend conferences, webinars and workshops throughout the year and I’ve studied the program, "Secrets of Writing High Performance Business-to-Business Copy" published by AWAI.

Retired Naval Officer (sixth-generation military veteran)

My mother would also tell you that I enjoy hiking, singing, playing guitar, building websites, producing web video, model railroading, and, of course – flying.  Then she would pull out the baby pictures . . .